The integrity of the site: what you need to know

As part of our mission to bring players the best experience possible, we take the integrity of our games extremely seriously. Here you can find more information about how we keep our games fair.

How does our software shuffle cards?

Our software uses an independently verified random number generator to produce a completely random shuffle that favors no player. Once the deck is shuffled, it is set, and the order the cards are dealt cannot be changed.

As well as this, our shuffle process has been reviewed and certified by Gaming Laboratories International, a leading independent gaming product testing laboratory. They concluded that our shuffling system is fair, random, and meets industry standards. You can see more details about the test here.

For more information about our integrity measures visit our Security section. Or, check out this video to learn more: How does PokerStars shuffle the deck?

What type of shuffle do you use?

To copy real-life poker as much as possible, we use a static shuffle. This means that once the deck is shuffled, it's set, and no one can change the order in which the cards fall. As the cards aren't continuously reshuffled throughout a hand, the cards that come out are completely independent of the action at the table.

Just like a live casino, we shuffle the cards and deal as needed. Therefore, we can't generate so-called 'action flops' or biased rivers. Since the order of cards is pre-determined, our software can't predict future moves or favor specific players.

Can hole cards be seen during live play?

No. We developed our software under strict security controls, and no one can expose hole cards during live play.

In the past, we discussed the concept of having a program that could view hole cards live to help testing. We rejected this idea to avoid any potential problems, and that decision still stands. We've never developed software in our history that could view hole cards live in real-time.

We do record all the hand histories in all real money hands. This is an important tool to help us investigate fraud and collusion. However, this information is not accessible to anyone until after the conclusion of the hand. It's not transmitted to our database until all action is completed and the pot awarded. As well as this, nobody, in public or employed by us, can get information from the servers to find out the hole cards of any hand in progress. This includes senior management, software developers, and operational representatives.

We're aware there are some programs that claim to make it possible to see other players' cards. We've investigated many of these programs and haven't found any that do what they claim to. Some of these programs are actually malware, programs that compromise the security of your computer. But mostly they're scams, attempts to steal money from people who believe incorrectly that they'll get a competitive edge. Although it is possible that malicious software on your computer could reveal your hole cards to a player. However, we must highlight that this is a theoretical risk. If you're concerned about such a possibility, you should consult with a computer security expert to secure your computer.

Do you use shills or bots on your site?

No. You'll never play in a game against anyone employed by us. We don't use any house players (also known as 'shills') or automatic players (or 'bots') on our site. You will only play against other players like yourself.

Any employee or contractor who has access to inside information (player records, hand histories, etc.) cannot play on the site. Moreover, their immediate relatives are not allowed to play either, to prevent any possible abuse of inside information. Anyone who leaves the company is also excluded from play for a number of months, and by that time, all access privileges are removed.

Staff can only see hole cards (e.g., in a collusion investigation) after the hand is complete. This is the same situation as normal players, who can see their game's hand history after the hand is complete.

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